Functional differences between upright and rotated images



Roldan CE & Phillips W (1980) Functional differences between upright and rotated images. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 32 (3), pp. 397-412.

In Experiment I subjects imaged an alphanumeric character either upright or upside-down, and triggered a test display character. Their task was to decide as quickly as possible whether the test character was NORMAL or MIRRORED. On 72% of the trials the test was at the orientation imaged. Reaction time (RT) was then about 200 ms longer in the upside-down image condition. This difference reduced with practice. On the remaining trials the orientation of the test character differed from that of the prepared image. For upright images RT increased monotonically with the angular difference in orientation between test and image. For upside-down images RT did not increase monotonically with angular difference as there was a wide dip around the upright. Further experiments suggested that upside-down images can be rotated, but at considerably slower rates than upright ones, and that the apparent rates of rotation for upside-down images are dependent upon the width of the sector tested. These results indicate that visual short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM) are distinct; that the process of mental rotation does not operate directly upon LTM; and that functionally, upright and rotated images may differ in important ways.

Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Volume 32, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/1980
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (1)


Professor Bill Phillips
Professor Bill Phillips

Emeritus Professor, Psychology